As I look back on 2018 and all the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of working with during the past twelve months, spending time with them, exploring the joy and fun that clothes can bring, I thought you might appreciate some tales from my past to bring a light-hearted end to this year’s Weekly Musings.
It’s not always been plain sailing for me. Many say to me that I could wear anything and I’d still look good. I thank you all for the compliments, but it’s been decades of saying no more than it has been of saying yes. When you know what really works for you, saying no to all the other attractive but 'not really me' pieces makes it so much simpler to shop and keep my wardrobe easy to mix match, as well as reinventing time and time again over the years. I’ve been reinventing things from the time my legs were long enough to reach the foot pedal on mum’s black singer sewing machine.
It started with simple saddle cloths for my pony but in my mid-teenage years it progressed to ‘fashion.’ Converting old pillowcases into crop tops with coloured ribbons added to gather the shoulders and the signature food colouring 'work of art' to jazz it up. When everyone else was wearing leg warmers, I had learnt how to tie-dye old sheets and had made leg wraps. The funkiest craziest leg wraps around. I had a pink set and a grey set. Took me half an hour to wind them around my legs before prancing off to the local disco but it was worth it every time. There was my oversized shirt phase, lovingly wearing my Grandad’s collarless white shirt, which I wore with my brother's belt which was also oversized. Slung low on the hips, the shirt meticulously and strategically pulled up so that it blousoned in all the right places, worn with the first version of what we now know as commonplace leggings.
A dark navy sheet became a nightmare pair of baggy hideous high waisted multi-pleated trousers, an old duvet cover became a pair of bloomers which I wore below a very 50’s inspired full skirt, fashioned this time from curtain lining fabric. As an art student, every piece of discarded fabric or clothing was considered a potential to be converted into something whacky that I would wear. I bought from a charity shop, a mans silk paisley dressing gown which I thought was magnificent and once I’d added gathers up the side seams, I positively floated around whenever I wore it. Simple pleasures derived from the clothes on my back.
As my studies continued garment making became more adventurous and worthy of buying new fabric, but mostly roll ends and offcuts so again finding a use for what others regarded as ‘waste’.
I can say with confidence that by the time I graduated I pretty much knew my style. Sporty, quirky and with a desire for the finer fabrics rather than slippy synthetics. But as I always say, how clothes make you look are actually the secondary part of why we choose to wear them. The real reason is how those clothes make us feel. I don’t have images of myself in my whacky creations and if I did I would probably cringe at my outfit choices of the under twenty me, but back then they embodied how I wanted to feel. Clothes that matched my personality. Independent, different and fun loving. When we try to define our style we often think of the labels and boxes marketing have tagged us with such as; romantic, bohemian, minimalist, classic, fashionista/trendy but when we listen to how those clothes make us feel, or ask ourselves does what I’m wearing align with the type of person I am today? It shuts down much of the external noise and lets us be more of ourselves, more confident with our choices, which is true Style Harmony. Fabulous for you and great for the planet too!
Next Spring I’m going to be launching a 4-week course where you can join me online for weekly lessons and inspiration as well as live Question and Answer sessions every week. I will be helping you to dig deep and find out if your personality and lifestyle really are aligned with who you are today. It will be a journey where we truly define your individual and unique style, where I will give you all the tools to embrace, enhance and celebrate who you are today.
If you find yourself idling over the holidays, take stock of what your best wardrobe moments were in 2018 and consider if you are happy to repeat in 2019. I went through mine last night and I can’t wait to outfit repeat next year! If you are in need of a fresh injection of ideas or simply need an expert’s opinion to clarify your thoughts then you will love what we have planned for you.